Virgil Dean (Bird) Keller, 88, of Garibaldi, Ore., passed away peacefully at home with family around him on Aug. 30, 2021. Virgil was born in Veedersburg, Ind., on Dec. 1, 1932, to Guy William Keller and Cora Edna (Lighty) Keller. He graduated from Rhema Bible Training Bible Center in 1975, and was ordained into ministry in Claremore, Oklahoma in 1978. Virgil and his wife Alice Roberta (Babe) Keller then moved back to Garibaldi to co-pastor Garibaldi Faith Fellowship Center; and were successful as Fishers of Men for many years.
In 1953 when Virgil saw Alice walking down the street he said, “That’s the woman I’m going to marry.” And he did, on August 21, 1953. He always bought Alice (he called her Babe) flowers just because, he sang to her, he danced for her, and loved her dearly. Together they wrote their love story for 68 years.
A huge part of their love story was their family… together they raised their five children: son David Keller (wife Barbara), daughter Roberta Rurak (husband Steve), son Robin Keller (wife Janet), son Guy Keller (wife Carolyn), daughter Juanita Ballard (husband Scott). From their five children they were blessed with many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.
Virgil was predeceased by both of his parents, by all of his siblings; brothers (3), and sisters (3+), by his son David Keller, June 4, 2014, in McMinnville, and by his grandson Michael Ault, 1998 in Tillamook.
In 1953 Virgil joined the Army. He was dismissed because of his feet. He moved to Garibaldi and began work for O-W Plywood as a sheet turner. In 1967 he and his family moved to McMinnville where he worked for White City Plywood as a Foreman. They moved back to Garibaldi in 1969 and Virgil worked as quality control at O-W Plywood. He worked there until the final blast of the O-W Plywood Mill whistle in 1974. Through the years Virgil worked in the woods logging, on the ocean and the rivers commercial fishing and sport fishing. Virgil was a very avid fisherman! He also loved to turtle, elk, deer, and duck hunt. He loved to tap dance, play his harmonica, or fire up the tambourine and sing songs he’d make up. With all the jobs and hobbies Virgil had… his greatest love was Jesus and the church they built together. Virgil served as Pastor of Garibaldi Faith Fellowship Center for many years.
In November of 2020, Virgil knew that change was near. He wanted to tend to a very important part of his life, God’s church. He and his wife called Pastor Billy and Sherry Creech and asked them to come for a visit. During that two-day visit, Pastors Virgil and Roberta asked them if they would take their ministry under their own name and care. The Saturday after Thanksgiving they prayed over them and released their ministry, their church building, and their blessing upon the Creech’s and His Gathering Ministries for the continuation and love of God’s Church in Garibaldi, Oregon.
For Virgil, the most important thing next to God was family. He is missed by all his family, and more friends than we know. We still see him dancing, smiling, singing and kissing his bride. See you soon dear man.